What St. John Paul II taught me about relationships.

Today is St. John Paul II’s feast day, which we celebrate for the first time since he was canonized earlier this year. In honor of it, today’s post features what I learned from St. John Paul II about relationships.

I pulled a cardboard package out of my mailbox, carried it into the house, and tore it open. Out of it, I lifted what I had waited for, for days: A copy of the book Love and Responsibility, written by St. John Paul II before he was pope.

I had heard of the book before I ordered it. “A must-read for Catholics, married or not,” friends of mine called it. So I–single and mingling–curled up with it that night in 2009, expecting to pore over page after page, and pumped to be edified.

But what I read was over my head before I finished page one. I wanted to whisk through it like I would any other book, but this book would require commitment, and it would require time, because it would require thought. So, I shelved it. But then, I tried again.

And oh how happy I am that I did.

I owned the book for three years before I could comprehend what our former pope wrote. What I learned from him can sustain a relationship for a lifetime. Today, I’ll share a few of my favorite lessons:

Lesson 1: “Man’s capacity for love depends on his willingness consciously to seek a good together with others, and to subordinate himself to that good for the sake of others, or to others for the sake of that good,” wrote St. John Paul II. In other words: How ready I am to love depends on how ready I am to not be the most important person in my life. Love–real love, that is–requires us to reject selfishness. It requires us to be ok with making sacrifices when having made sacrifices is of benefit to the person we love.

Click here to read the rest of this post on the Catholic Match Institute’s blog.

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